At first the name “Cook County” doesn’t sound like anything particularly special. However, if you’ve ever heard of Chicago or Northwestern or Oak Park, then you’ve heard of Cook County. This nondescript sounding County encompasses part of Chicago, all of Oak Park, and the surrounding area.
This county is actually home to more than 50% of the entire country. So while it sounds fairly pedestrian, Cook County is kind of a big deal. There’s a lot of history in this area of Illinois.
Here are all the things you need to know about Cook County and all the exciting destinations within its borders.
1. Daniel Cook and other early history
This guy was the youngest statesman from Illinois at the time. He served as a U.S. Representative and Attorney General. However, he is said to have never visited Cook County. That’s right; he never stepped foot on the massive area of land that is dedicated to him.
This area has always been a hotspot for corruption and criminal activity. In the 1800’s there was a huge operation, called Operation Greylord, where 92 government officials were arrested for corruption.
Before the mob made it’s way over and seized control of Chicago, this place already was wrought with scandal.
2. Hemingway Home at Oak Park
If you’re a fan of this legendary writer, then the next time you visit Oak Park you should definitely stop by his childhood home. Hemingway lived in the first house in Oak Park to have electricity and lived in close proximity to the gorgeous nature reserves of the surrounding area. Many people credit this home and the area around it with inspiring Hemingway’s later works.
3. Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio at Oak Park
Again, this is an entry for all your intellectuals out there. Wright was a famous architect that ended up living and working in Oak Park after he apprenticed and rose to fame as an interior designer and architect.
This guy is proof that school isn’t for everyone. There is no evidence that he ever graduated from high school and after a short while at university – where he joined social fraternity Phi Delta Theta – he dropped out (much like many a frat boy).
After he had established his career designing over 1,000 structures, about half of which were built, he settled down in Oak Park. You can visit his beautiful home that he made in Cook County.
The overall art scene in Cook County, particularly in Oak Park and in Chicago, is definitely one to see. If you’re a fan of fine art, the Art Institute of Chicago’s gallery has infamous paintings on display for a small fee.
The public art scene is also thriving. In Chicago, Millennium Park is home to Cloud Gate, popularly known as the bean, and other art installations for every to enjoy for free.
If art isn’t your bag, then there are plenty of other things to do in Cook County. The Blackhawks are one of the best Hockey Teams in the NHL and you can always go see a Red Sox game!
If you want to learn more about Cook County, then check out the video below!